The Zang Fu Organs


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The Zang Fu Organs

  1. 1. The Zang-Fu Organs The zang and fu organs are the internal visible organs of the body. The zang organsare of paramount importance in the body. They co-ordinate with the fu organs andconnect with the five tissues (channels, jin1 muscles, skin-hair, bones), and the nineopenings (eyes, nose, ears, mouth, tongue, anus and external genitalia), to form thesystem of the Five Zang. The pericardium is not considered to be an important zangorgan.The Functions of the Zang OrgansThe Xin - HeartThe xin-heart dominates the circulation of blood. When it functions properly thetissues and organs are well perfused and nourished, but when it malfunctions thereis precordial pain, cyanosis and ischaemia. This disease is due to stagnation of theblood of xin-heart. The xin-heart keeps the mind. Normally there is a clear mind,normal mentality, normal sleep and a good memory. When this fails there is coma,insomnia or somnolence, amnesia and mental derangement, because the xin-heart isfailing to keep the mind.The Gan - LiverThe gan-liver is the main yang organ of the body. The gan-liver stores blood.Normally there is sufficient blood supply to all tissues. When this fails there isischaemia, dizziness, malaise, abnormal menstruation and hemorrhage. The gan-livertakes charge of freeing. Freeing really means the free flow of blood and qi throughthe body, especially digestion and the discharge of bile. When this is impaired thereis irritability, mental depression, anorexia, abdominal distension and jaundice. Thegan-liver controls the jin which governs the muscle tone. When this function isdisturbed there is muscle spasm, twitching, opisthotonos and convulsions. This isdue to an insufficiency of yin and blood of the gan-liver, resulting in the malnutritionof the jin. | | |
  2. 2. The Pi - SpleenThe pi-spleen governs the transportation and transformation of food, i.e. digestion.When digestion is abnormal there is anorexia, distension of the abdomen, diarrhea,emaciation, lassitude and oedema. This is due to a deficiency of the qi of pi-spleen.The pi-spleen commands the blood. Normally the blood circulates within the bloodvessels but when this function fails there is extravasation of blood, chronic recurrenthemorrhage and bruising. The pi-spleen dominates the muscles. This really meanscontrolling the muscle bulk. Normally there is no muscle wasting, but when there ismalnutrition of the muscles they are weak and wasted. In addition the qi of pi-spleenlifts and fixes the internal organs in their normal position.The Fei - LungThe fei-lung takes charge of respiration. Normally respiration is even and the tissuesare well oxygenated. When this function fails breathing is uneven, there is a cough,dyspnoea, shallow respiration and anoxia. This is due to a deficiency of qi of fei-lungwhich causes an impairment of dissipation and descent of clean qi (oxygen). The fei-lung frees and regulates the water passage. This function covers thetransportation and distribution of nutrients and water, the secretion of sweat andthe excretion of urine. Abnormally there will be hyperhydrosis or hypohydrosis,oedema and difficulty in urination due to obstruction of the water passage. The fei-lung dominates the hair and skin. Normally the skin is lubricious, the hair lustrous,and sweating is normal. Abnormally the skin is rough, the hair dry and withered andthe skin is loose. This looseness opens the pores and increases the susceptibility toinvasion by pathogenic factors.The Shen - KidneyThe shen-kidney is the main yin organ of the body. The shen-kidney dominatesgrowth, reproduction and development. When this function fails there is a loss ofreproductive function, retardation of growth, failure to thrive, and prematuresenility due to an insufficiency of the qi of shen-kidney. The shen-kidney producesmarrow, filling the brain with marrow, dominating the bones and producing blood.Normally the spinal cord and the brain are fully developed, the bones are strong andthe blood sufficient. Abnormally there will be dizziness, tinnitus, insomnia, poormemory and lassitude. The bones will be weak and brittle and the blood will beinsufficient. This is due to an insufficiency of the essence of shen-kidney. The shen-kidney controls body water. This entails normal urine production and micturition. | | |
  3. 3. Abnormally there will be oliguria or anuria, oedema, difficult or dribbling micturition,polyuria, enuresis and incontinence. This is due to an insufficiency of yang of theshen-kidney failing to control body water. The shen-kidney controls the intake ofclean qi (air). Abnormally there will be wheezing due to the failure of the shen-kidney to control the intake of clean air.The PericardiumIt encloses and protects the xin-heart and the diseases of the pericardium result indysfunction of the xin-heart.The Functions of the Fu Organs In general the traditional functions of the fu organs are very similar to theirfunctions in Western medicine.The Small IntestineThe small intestine connects with the xin-heart. The small intestine receives anddigests food from the stomach. It absorbs the pure part and distributes it to thewhole body, the impure part going on to the large intestine. This function of thesmall intestine belongs to the transforming and transporting function of the pi-spleen.The small intestine transfers the turbid residues to the large intestine. The spleentransports the clean essential substances to all parts of the body, and part of thewater contained in food to the urinary bladder. Therefore, if diseased, the smallintestine will not only affect the function of digestion and absorption, but also leadto urinary problems.The Gall - BladderThe gall-bladder connects with the gan-liver. It stores and discharges bile. Theexpulsion of bile from the gall-bladder is closely related to the freeing function of thegan-liver. The gan-liver and the gall-bladder take charge of freeing together, andjaundice results when this function is deranged.The gall bladder is also involved in the free flow of qi concerning emotional activities.Clinically, when some mental disorders or emotional symptoms such as fear andpalpitation, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, etc. occur, treatment can be appliedby considering the gall bladder. | | |
  4. 4. The StomachThe stomach connects with the pi-spleen. The stomach stores and digests food,passing it on to the small intestine. A deficiency of qi of the stomach causesindigestion, epigastric pain and sour regurgitation When the qi of the stomachascends then nausea, heartburn, vomiting, hiccoughs and flatulence occur.Clinical diagnosis and treatment place great stress on the strength and weakness ofthe stomach and spleen qi. Generally, it is considered that whatever kind of diseaseoccurs, if stomach qi is still strong, the prognosis will be good. It is said, "Stomach qiis the foundation of the human body. When there is stomach qi, there is life. Whenthere is no stomach qi death will follow." Preserving stomach qi is thereforeconsidered an important principle of treatment.Normal stomach qi descends. If it fails to descend, symptoms such as anorexia,fullness, pain and distension of the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, hiccough, etc.will appear.The large IntestineThe large intestine connects with the fei-lung. The large intestine absorbs theresidue of water and turns the rest of the food into feces. Disturbance of thisfunction results in diarrhea or constipation due to the descent of qi.The Urinary BladderThe urinary bladder connects with the shen-kidney. The bladder stores and thendischarges urine from the body. Pathologically, if the urinary bladder has adysfunction of qi, dysuria or retention of urine will appear. If its restrictive function islost, there may be excessive urination or incontinence of urine.The SanjiaoIn Chinese the sanjiao means the three cavities. The xin-heart and the fei-lung are inthe upper jiao (the chest), and they transport qi and blood to all parts of the body inorder to nourish the body. The pi-spleen and stomach are in the middle jiao (theepiastrium) and they digest and absorb food. The shen-kidney and bladder are in thelower jiao (the hypogastrium) and they control water metabolism and the storageand excretion of water. The sanjiao is also sometimes called the triple warmer organ.This is because the three body cavities are intended to control the body temperature.Pathological problems in any of the three jiao will effect the organs located there. | | |
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